Syria and the red lines of international law
As the US and its allies France and Turkey dither over whether or not to punish Assad for having used sarin gas to kill his own people, the crucial question is: What response might the outside world legally take without the authority of the UN Security Council, which remains blocked by two veto-wielding members, Russia and China? Sadly, international law provides no clear-cut answers to this dilemma. To respond to what US Secretary of State John Kerry has rightly called a “moral obscenity”, this commentary explores ways in which formal interpretations of international law might give way to a more pragmatic approach to punish the Assad regime for its use of chemical weapons.
Steven Blockmans is a CEPS Senior Research Fellow and Head of the EU Foreign Policy unit.